TIME Photojournalism Links

The 10 Best Photo Essays of the Month

A compilation of the 10 most interesting photo essays published online in June, as curated by Mikko Takkunen

This month’s Photojournalism Links collection highlights 10 excellent photo essays from across the world, including Tomas Munita’s powerful work on Burma’s persecuted Rohingya minority. The photographs, made on assignment for The New York Times, capture a camp in Sittwe, Burma, where some 140,000 Rohingya live in bamboo huts without electricity, in conditions that partly explain why thousands of the Muslim ethnic group have tried to migrate across Asia these past few months.

Tomas Munita: For the Rohingya of Burma, a Hardscrabble Existence (The New York Times)

James Nachtwey: The Plight of the Rohingya (TIME LightBox) TIME’s contract photographer travelled to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, to document the plight of Asia’s newest boat people.

Pete Muller: Seeking the Source of Ebola (National Geographic) World Press Photo winner Muller’s excellent pictures track the Ebola outbreak from Democratic Republic of Congo to Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Ivory Coast.

Rena Effendi: In the Footsteps of Gandhi (National Geographic) Effendi’s beautiful color photographs look at the great Indian leader’s impact, past and present.

Robin Hammond: Chronicling the Struggles of LGBT People Around the World (TIME LightBox) Moving portraits series on survivors of discrimination

David Guttenfelder: Illuminating North Korea (The New York Times) Yet another fascinating look at the hermit kingdom by the National Geographic Society Fellow.

Matt Black: Geography of Poverty (MSNBC) The new Magnum nominee is expanding his project documenting poverty from California to rest of the U.S.

Philip Montgomery: Scott Walker and the Fate of the Union (The New York Times Magazine) Stunning black and white pictures document the fight to protect workers’ rights in Wisconsin.

Arnau Bach: Stranded in Marseille (The New Yorker Photo Booth) Bach won the Pierre and Alexandra Boulat grant in 2013 and used the funds to make a portrait of one of the poorest French cities.

Charles Ommanney: The Black Route to Europe (The Washington Post) These photographs track one Syrian family’s journey from Aleppo to Austria| More on the Washington Post In Sight blog: Pt.1 and Pt. 2.

TIME Instagram

Instagram Users in North Korea Report App Blocked

Pictures appear on the smartphone photo
Thomas Coex—AFP/Getty Images Pictures appear on the smartphone photo sharing application Instagram on April 10, 2012 in Paris.

Instagram users in North Korea have received a "blacklist" warning

Looks like North Korea has blacklisted photo-sharing social network Instagram and is denying access to it from devices in the country.

When users open the app from mobile phones on the North Korean carrier Koryolink, a warning in both English and Korean appears, The Associated Press reported on Monday. “Warning! You can’t connect to this website because it’s in blacklist site [sic],” says the English version. The Korean warning also says that the site contains harmful content.

Similar warnings also appear when accessing Instagram on computers using LAN cables on the North Korean Internet provider. Instagram still worked on some mobile phones, but not all.

The origin of the warning is still unclear. Koryolink customer support employees told The Associated Press that they weren’t aware of any policy changes regarding Instagram and there has been no notice from the government regarding the service. The block could be related to a June 11 fire at a Pyongyang hotel, often used by tourists and foreign visitors, that North Korea’s state-run media has yet to officially report on, despite photos of it leaking on the Internet.

While North Korea is still not allowing its citizens to access the Internet, with a few exceptions, it did decide in 2013 to allow foreign visitors to access 3G Internet through their mobile phones, which requires a local SIM card from Koryolink.

Other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are still working fine.

TIME North Korea

Activists Cross Demilitarized Zone Between North and South Korea

The group wants to promote peace and reconciliation between the two sides

An international group of female activists crossed the border between North and South Korea on Sunday to promote peace between the two countries, which have yet to sign a peace treaty 60 years after the Korean War ended.

The group of about 30 women, WomenCrossDMZ, was taken by bus across the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), CNN reports, which was created by a 1953 armistice that halted, but never ended, the Korean War. The crossing was sanctioned by both sides, and included feminist Gloria Steinem and Nobel laureates Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland.

Several groups have criticized the march, arguing that the women should have crossed the North Korea–China border, which is more dangerous than the DMZ. Others called the crossing “empty,” blasting the activists for allowing North Korea an opportunity to cover up its record of human-rights abuses.

Read next: Gloria Steinem’s North Korea Peace Walk Draws Ire Despite Lack of Any Better Ideas

[CNN]

 

TIME North Korea

North Korean Dictator’s Brother Spotted At Eric Clapton Concert

Kim Jong-chul is clearly a big Clapton fan

Footage has emerged that appears to show the older brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un attending two Eric Clapton concerts in London. According to the BBC, Kim Jong-chul has been seen attending Clapton concerts abroad in the past, in Germany and in Singapore.

The video footage filmed by a Japanese television network Wednesday shows a car arriving outside London’s Royal Albert Hall. A man resembling Kim Jong-chul and a woman emerge from inside, both dressed in green leather jackets and sunglasses.

Reporters ask Kim several questions, including about his relationship with his brother, but he does not reply.

A BBC journalist at the same venue the following night said the pair were there again, surrounded by officials. “But he was having a great time, singing along to all the words,” said Simeon Paterson from the BBC.

Kim Jon-chul’s father reportedly overlooked him for the North Korean leadership in 2009. His younger brother Kim Jon-un took over when their father died in Dec. 2011.

TIME North Korea

Gloria Steinem’s North Korea Peace Walk Draws Ire Despite Lack of Any Better Ideas

Remember, the status quo sure ain't working

There’s a lot written about North Korea: reports on the country’s nuclear program, speculation about its leadership, and gossip about its dictator’s hair, height and weight. But parse the streams of text the country generates each week and you’ll notice a word conspicuously missing: peace.

Though the 1950–53 Korean War ended without a treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula divided, the question of peace has faded from view. Exasperated by Pyongyang’s intransigence on nuclear issues, tired of its propagandists’ vitriol, the international community has, for the most part, disengaged. Young South Koreans are less and less interested in their hermit neighbor. The U.S. is all about isolation — and sanctions galore.

The deepening standoff is what inspired a group of 30 female activists, including feminist icon Gloria Steinem, to plan a walk for peace at the border. The plan is to set out on May 24 across the demilitarized zone, or DMZ (which, despite its name, is among the most militarized places on earth). They will walk from the north side to the south, they hope, a gesture meant to break the standoff — symbolically at least.

There are still questions as to whether the women will make it through. They say they’ve been granted permission from authorities on both sides to walk across on May 24, although they are not sure which crossing they will use. They told Reuters that they had yet to hear back from U.N. Command, which runs the Panmunjom crossing. (There are two others.)

While in North Korea, the group’s itinerary includes meeting North Korean women and touring a maternity ward and a factory. The point is to be present, listen and engage, Steinem told the Washington Post in a pre-departure interview. “There is no substitute for putting your bodies where your concerns are,” she said.

Not everybody agrees. In a Post editorial headlined “Empty Marching in North Korea,” Abraham Cooper of Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Greg Scarlatoiu of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, blast Steinem and her colleagues for giving North Korea a chance to engage in “human rights theater intended to cover up its death camps and crimes against humanity.”

Responding to an item in TIME about the march, North Korean exile Shin Dong-hyuk (more on him here) also blasted the women for “smiling” at Kim Jong Un’s “evil” face. “How can they so easily find the ability to be comfortable with smiles on their faces to this dictator when so many are suffering at his hands?” we writes on his Facebook page. He wonders, he says, “if these people know the meaning of peace.”

While Cooper, Scarlatoiu and Shin are right to put the spotlight on North Korea’s appalling rights record, it’s quite the leap to say these veteran activists are ignoring it. “We have no illusions that our walk can basically erase the conflict that has endured for seven decades,” Christine Ahn, the Korean-American coordinator, told the press.

The group is pushing for empathy — not for the regime but for those suffering under it. They want to make us care about North Korea by showing us that North Koreans are people, not Hollywood caricatures. Yes, Kim Jong Un could spin this as good press. But surely outside observers will realize that a visit by peace campaigners is not an endorsement of his death camps.

The world needs to stand up to North Korea. Its record on human rights is appalling, its leader cruel. But the current strategy — isolation, condemnation and mockery — is not working. As such, it’s hard to condemn a walk for peace.

TIME North Korea

North Korea Submarine Missile Footage Isn’t Real, U.S. Admiral Says

Photo showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the scene of the alleged missile launch on May 9, 2015.
KCNA/EPA Photo showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the scene of the alleged missile launch on May 9, 2015.

Top military official credits "clever video editors"

Photos showing a North Korean missile launched from a submarine were manipulated by state propagandists, a top U.S. military official said on Tuesday.

North Korea, heavily sanctioned by the United States and United Nations for its missile and nuclear tests, said on May 9 it had successfully conducted an underwater test-fire of a submarine-launched ballistic missile. If true, it would indicate progress in its pursuit of building missile-equipped submarines.

MORE: This is how North Korea’s Government Wants You To See Kim Jong Un

On Wednesday, the North warned Washington not to challenge its sovereign right to boost military deterrence and boasted of its ability to miniaturize nuclear warheads, a claim it has made before and which has been widely questioned by experts and never verified…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME North Korea

Gloria Steinem Joins Female Activists in North Korea for DMZ Peace March

Activist Gloria Steinem, center right, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, center left, along with other delegation, visit Mangyongdae, the birthplace of North Korea's late leader Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang, Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Kim Kwang Hyon—AP Activist Gloria Steinem, center right, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, center left, along with other delegation members, visit Mangyongdae, the birthplace of North Korea's late leader Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang on May 20, 2015

"I believe that we are ... breaking through this mental state that this is a permanent division"

An all-female group of peace activists landed in North Korea on Wednesday in the hope of crossing the demilitarized zone (DMZ) to South Korea on May 24, International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament. The women hope crossing the fortified border will signal that Korean reunification is not a distant goal but a realistic possibility.

The WomenCrossDMZ group, which includes noted American feminist Gloria Steinem, will conduct a peace symposium and two walks for peace, according to Reuters.

The women have already begun meeting female North Koreans and are scheduled to visit a women’s factory, maternity hospital and children’s preschool in Pyongyang.

“I believe that we are, basically by crossing the DMZ, breaking through this mental state that this is a permanent division,” said Christine Ahn, the group’s coordinator.

The 1950–53 Korean War terminated in an uneasy truce, leaving South and North Korea officially still at war. The border is dotted with just three checkpoints and crossings remain unusual, but the group secured permission from both countries to hold their event. However, they are currently awaiting permission from the U.N. Command, which controls the Panmunjom border crossing.

Ahn said she was fully aware of the entrenched animosity that persists between the two neighbors. “We have no illusions that our walk can basically erase the conflict that has endured for seven decades,” she added.

[Reuters]

TIME North Korea

North Korea Reportedly Executes Its Defense Minister for Dozing Off at a Military Event

Senior North Korean military officer Hyon Yong Chol delivers a speech during the 4th Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) in Moscow April 16, 2015.
Sergei Karpukhin—Reuters Senior North Korean military officer Hyon Yong Chol delivers a speech during the 4th Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) in Moscow April 16, 2015.

The execution is the latest in a series of purges against senior North Korean officials

North Korea has reportedly executed its Defense Minister for falling asleep at a military event that was attended by the country’s leader Kim Jong Un, Seoul’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) told lawmakers in Seoul.

According to South Korean media on Wednesday, Hyon Yong Chol was charged with treason and executed on April 30 in front of a crowd of hundreds of North Korean officials, reports Reuters.

Hyon, who was chief of the country’s People’s Armed Forces, is also said to have talked back to the North Korean dictator several times.

The South Korean intelligence agency briefed a parliamentary committee about the execution on Wednesday.

Hyon’s execution is the latest in a series of purges against senior officials in the isolated country. Last month, the NIS said Pyongyang had ordered the execution of 15 high-ranking officials for undermining Kim’s leadership.

[Reuters]

TIME North Korea

North Korean Official Threatens Nuke Strike If U.S. ‘Forced Their Hand’

Participants of the 5th Conference of the Training Officers of the Korean People's Army greet Kim Jon Un (not pictured), in a photo released on May 1, 2015.
KCNA/Xinhua Press/Corbis Participants of the 5th Conference of the Training Officers of the Korean People's Army greet Kim Jon Un (not pictured), in a photo released on May 1, 2015.

"We're a major power politically, ideologically and militarily," he said

A senior North Korean figure said his country has the capability to strike the mainland United States with nuclear weapons and would do so if the U.S. “forced their hand.”

In an rare interview with U.S. media, Park Yong Chol told CNN that his country’s investment in nuclear arms was worth the cost of Western sanctions. “This strategic decision was the right one,” he said.

Park, who is the deputy head of the country’s Institute for Research into National Reunification, a government-tied think tank, denied United Nations reports of brutal camps for political prisoners and said that reports from South Korean intelligence that dictator Kim Jong Un had personally ordered the execution of more than a dozen officials this year amounted to “malicious slander.”

He also said that his country plans to become a world economic powerhouse.

“We’re a major power politically, ideologically and militarily,” he said. “The last remaining objective is to make the DPRK a strong economic power.”

[CNN]

TIME North Korea

Student Detained in North Korea Says He ‘Wanted to Be Arrested’

"I hope that I will be able to tell the world how an ordinary college student entered" North Korea

New York University student Won-moon Joo said in a new interview that getting arrested in North Korea was part of his plan to slip into the country and stage a “great event” that could lead to reconciliation between the North and the South.

“I wanted to be arrested,” the 21-year-old American resident told CNN in the presence of government minders. “I hope that I will be able to tell the world how an ordinary college student entered [North Korea] illegally but however with the generous treatment of [North Korea] that I will be able to return home safely.”

Read more at CNN

Read next: China Has Reason to Be Worried About North Korea’s Nukes

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com